On Thursday, July 19th, David Cattler, Assistant Secretary General for Intelligence and Security at NATO joined INSA’s Executive Vice President John Doyon for a virtual conversation that addressed the security and strategic advancements of the Alliance, intelligence sharing amongst allies, Russia’s assault on Ukraine, as well as the recent NATO Strategic Concept outlined in Madrid last month. Mr. Cattler provided critical insight on the priorities of the alliance, as well as the mission function NATO serves to ensure security in the Atlantic.
As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine extends into its fifth month, Cattler addressed the nature of Russian aggression in Europe, including false flag operations and attempted subversion. The Alliance had been preparing for Russia’s invasion since 2014 and has taken initiative to show continued support to Ukraine. When asked if Putin underestimated the strength of the Alliance, Mr. Cattler indicated that it was in fact the strength of the Ukrainian people and their desire to preserve their sovereignty that Putin failed to account for.
Last month, NATO allies agreed to Accession Protocols that would, once ratified by NATO states’ legislatures, admit Finland and Sweden as the two newest member nations in the Alliance. The accession of these nations is of preeminent importance to the Baltic region in particular. Finland and Sweden both contribute advanced weapons systems, as well as excellent intelligence and security structures. NATO’s expansion will further surround the Russian Federation with allied member states.
Throughout the rest of the conversation, Cattler highlighted the significant improvements NATO has made in intelligence collection and sharing amongst the Allies. Advancements in commercial satellite intelligence collection, new open-source tools, and increased combined training have improved communications and operational command and control. NATO modernization efforts in Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) and airborne AWACS surveillance have proven essential to NATO’s collective security.
At the conclusion of the discussion, Cattler discussed the Strategic Concept that NATO outlined in Madrid in June, particularly the importance of continued collaboration, deterrence, and cooperative security amongst allied members. The new Strategic Concept serves as a blueprint for how the Alliance will adapt to a more dangerous and competitive world.
At this critical moment, Cattler noted, it is important for all Americans to recognize the work NATO is doing to achieve collective security for not just the Alliance, but for peace and prosperity around the globe.